Wednesday, March 11, 2020

WEDDING WEDNESDAY ~ A Find at the Family History Library during Rootstech–William Gillen & Caroline Rosell, married 1859

As I wrote in a previous post, about my preparation for Rootstech and the Family History Library, I take a list of things I'd like to locate.  You can read about my preparation here PREPARING FOR ROOTSTECH 10 ~ THE COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN.....Here's What I'm Doing...

One of the images I shared was from page 5 of my 7 pages of items I hoped to find.The marriage of William Gillen & Caroline Rosell.  I had located a film number on the Family Search site, but the film can only be viewed at the FHL.
The film was online at the library (only viewable if you're there in person), so I didn’t have to pull it and use a machine to view it.  I brought it up on the computer, film #000338048, and scrolled to the correct location on the film and THERE IT WAS!

William Gillen is the son of my 3rd great granduncle, John Gillen (1804-1880) and his wife Nancy Miller (1815-1913).  He was the oldest child of 9 born to this couple.  William’s father raised those 9 children working as a farmer for most of his life.

William & Caroline were enumerated next to his parents in the 1860 census, along with their 7 month old son, Clinton.  William worked as a farm laborer.  Was he helping his Dad on the farm?  I suspect he may have been.

Now is where my questions begin.  I have not been able to locate William in the 1870 or 1880 census.  No sign of Caroline either.  BUT, I do find their son, Clinton, living with his grandparents, John & Nancy in both the 1870 and 1880 census in Illinois.
According to William’s death notice, he moved to New Orleans in about 1861, when Clinton was just a toddler.  What happened to Caroline? Why was Clinton raised by his grandparents?
William is enumerated in the 1900 census with a wife named Cassie.  The census states they’ve been married for 25 years.  This puts the marriage long after William & Caroline’s marriage.

I’ve spent the past hour going through newspapers, census records and cemetery memorials trying to find out where or when Caroline may have died.  I've also looked for any records of the marriage of William to a Cassie in about 1875.  I have been unsuccessful.  BUT, I’ve located a lot of other newspaper articles about William aka Capt. William Gillen’s time piloting river boats out of New Orleans.

For now, I’ll be satisfied to post this marriage record.  I’ll keep searching for more information about William and his two wives.


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2020   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Be sure to check several years AFTER you think they married, too. I had two couple, one in my family tree was in Denmark and one in my husband's was in Tennessee. They had five or six children each, but I could never find a marriage record for either one. Eventually, I found them. Both were after 3 or 4 children had been born to them.

    1. Thanks Linda. Yes, there have been a few of those surprise marriage dates in our family. Appreciate your input.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.